NASHVILLE, Tenn. - If Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin was looking for teaching points for his Commodores, plenty surfaced Tuesday during the team's first practice in full gear.
Franklin was less than pleased. On two different occasions during the 2-hour, 15-minute session, Franklin called a halt to drills simply to get the squad more focused on the task at hand.
While impressive individual plays came from both sides of the ball, nobody left the John Rich Practice Facility pleased with the overall performance.
"We didn't respond well," Franklin said, "and ultimately it's my job to make sure we come out and get better every single day and practice well.
"It just wasn't competitive enough. I'm not talking about the scheme and the X's and O's. It's the fumbled snaps, jumping off-sides, just sloppy football. We're better than this, we really are," the coach added.
The defense controlled the practice until a brief, red-zone scrimmage that closed the practice. The offense gained a measure of respect during the full-contact drill, scoring touchdowns on five of six possessions.
Unfortunately, for much of the day, the offense was its own worst enemy, repeatedly stopping possessions with a variety of dropped balls, fumbles, missed assignments and miscues.
Franklin sees the Commodores benefiting from the session as more leaders step forward.
"This is where leadership comes in," the coach said. "We need guys who have made big plays in the SEC and have competed at this level to understand that they have to lead. Right now, we need that from our players and our coaches."
Norman Impressive in Short-Yardage Scrimmage
After senior Zac Stacy tallied two 4-yard touchdown runs in the short-yardage drill, redshirt junior running back Warren Norman enjoyed his return to full contact with an impressive effort.
Norman had four carries inside the defense's 5-yard line, and carried defenders into the end zone on rushes of five and three yards, respectively.
Franklin on OL Coach Herb Hand: "He Competes in Everything He Does"
With offensive line coach Herb Hand becoming an sudden internet sensation following his "The Worm" dance move on YouTube, Franklin let the media know it wasn't the first time he'd witnessed Hand in action.
At a recent retreat, Hand shocked the staff with a karaoke performance of Eminem's 8 Mile single. "He absolutely got after it... Herb competes in everything he does, just like everybody else in this program," Franklin said. "I love him for that and it's why our kids do, too."
Hand's impromptu dance was the highlight of a 94-second YouTube video showing players and coaches entering the team meeting displaying their best dance moves. While some players like freshman defensive tackle Ladarius Banks showed potential, Hand took just five seconds to steal the show and earn a standing ovation.